Citing a number of concerns, NEASC, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, announced yesterday that Newton South High School does not currently come anywhere near to meeting the standards for public high schools. A spokesman said that Newton South will be removed from their list of accredited institutions unless “major changes are made.”
The school's administration was apparently aware of the possiblity of failure, and took measures to try to meet the accreditation requirements. Faculty and staff trained students for interviews, crafted what they thought was a clear and effective mission statement, and posted enough mission statements around the school that at least one is in sight at all times.
“Really, the single largest factor that led to our decision was the mission statement's language,” said Carl Niemann, the leader of the evaluation committee. “It just didn't use big enough words.” Niemann contrasted Newton South's statement with NEASC's own document, which stresses that “through comission processes which focus on institutional self-evaluation and self-improvement, affiliated institutions are encouraged and assisted in enhancing their effectiveness.”
Niemann also mentioned other problems, including garishly painted walls, extreme hallway congestion, and urinals insufficiently far from the floor. “It's difficult to aim low enough with urinals that barely come up to your thighs. They might have passed an inspection from our elementary and middle school division, but quite frankly, these urinals just don't rise to the challenge.”
School officials are currently debating what steps to take next. “We have to reconsider whether our school is really fostering a supportive environment for all learners,” said Brenda Keegan, the acting principal. “Maybe if we double the number of mission statements on the walls we would be accredited. With twice as many posters, students would be twice as confident in our school's efforts, and we would surely meet even the strictest of standards.”
As always, Keegan will be in the cafeteria with candy for anyone who stops worrying about schoolwork and college long enough to think of a solution.
The failure comes as a shock to Newton residents, who had long believed their schools to be among the finest. “Last year's seniors had the fourth-highest average SAT score in the state! How can South not be accredited?” said one concerned parent. “I guess the standardized test scores of the students aren't the best measure of a school's quality, after all.”